Monday, 10 December 2018

Eating Out: Brisbane Vegan Markets December 2018

Another month, another Brisbane Vegan Markets. Although billed as Christmas markets, there was very little on theme except for one cupcake stall that had Christmas flavours and decorations. I met my friends Tracee and Jamie there as usual, and we embarked on some eating.

Nutsy was there again with their nut milks, and I was able to score my favourite Strawberry Cashew Milk to start off with. Once again, a lot of the food places were not ready to serve at 9am when the markets opened, so it was good to have this to get started.

Strawberry Cashew Milk from Nutsy at Brisbane Vegan Markets

Jamie once again had his favourite Veef Burger from the Farm Animal Rescue stall. He ate two of them last time. This time, I was able to get a photo.

Veef Burger from FAR at Brisbane Vegan Markets

I had the Breakfast Burger from Gatherers. It had a hashbrown, cheese, BBQ jackfruit, avocado, spinach, and tomato relish. It was pretty good, though not too filling.

Breakfast Burger from Gatherer's at Brisbane Vegan Markets

And of course, we finished with some I Should Coco ice cream. This time I tried the Cookie Monster - chocolate chip cookie dough, chocolate chip cookie chunks, and crumbled vegan Tim Tams with chocolate sauce.

Cookie Monster from I Should Coco at Brisbane Vegan Markets

There was a new stall there selling bagels, both filled and also to take away. They had some nice looking fillings, but I just got a selection to take with me. Three everything bagels, one garlic, one rye sunflower, and one blueberry. Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of the place.

Everything Bagels, Garlic Bagel, Sunflower & Rye Bagel, Blueberry Bagel at Brisbane Vegan Markets

Also eaten but not pictured, Jamie and Tracee shared some momos, Tracee had a hot dog (though it wasn't very good, sadly), and I also had a sugar cane and ginger juice in my reusable smoothie cup.

Before going to the markets, I went to some other community markets where The Little Vegan & Co were having a stall. They make the most amazing baked goods! It was so lovely to be able to meet them, and hear about their very exciting plans for the future. And of course, buy some of their things! I got a mini pecan pie, a blueberry & chocolate chip muffin, iced vovos, a fruit mince tart, a peanut and chocolate chip cookie, and a peanut butter cookie base brownie. So good. I was super excited about the iced vovos, as I loved them in my pregan days, and they were everything I hoped and dreamed!

Pecan Pie, Blueberry Chocolate Chip Muffin, Iced Vovos, Mince Tart, Peanut Cookie, Peanut Butter Cookie Brownie, from Little Vegan & Co at Bardon Markets

So that was my final BVM for the year. Next year, we have decided to mix it up a bit and try out different places for brunch instead of just the markets all the time, and just go to the markets every few months. We need a bit of a change and some more variety. Especially as it gets hotter over the next few months!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Month

Dim Sim Unicorn

One more photo of Dim Sim as an annoyed unicorn.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Eating Out: Ginger and Rose

I first heard about Ginger and Rose when my mum sent me an article about the recently opened and very vegan friendly cafe. Then I started seeing it pop up here and there on my Instagram. A quick check of the menu and I knew I had to go and visit.

I made a beeline straight for the Strawberry waffles. And they were amazing! The waffles were crisp and fluffy, with fresh strawberries, strawberry and balsamic sauce, a generous serve of maple syrup, and vanilla ice cream. SOY ICE CREAM! Friends will know what a joy this is to me, who cannot eat coconut ice cream. They have a few different flavours of waffles, all vegan, but of course strawberry always has my heart. I also had a Banana and Cinnamon smoothie, which was sweet and creamy and delicious. A+ brunch.

Strawberry Waffles at Ginger & Rose

Banana Smoothie at Ginger & Rose

While normally a breakfast/lunch location, they recently opened on Friday nights for pizza and cheeseboards. I was able to get there the other week to try it out. I was on my own, so limited myself to just one pizza. The cheeseboards look beautiful, though I believe they use Nutsy cheeses. Nutsy is a local vegan cheese company, but unfortunately they have too much coconut oil in them for me. But never mind, because pizza!!!! They have a few vegan options, and I chose the Mushrooms vs Onions (it also has spinach on it), but I added pineapple and black olives because I love them. The pizza was loaded! They are not shy of toppings! It did make it pretty messy to eat, the toppings wanted to roll off the pizza when I picked it up, but it was tasty. If the base was a little crispier, the toppings a little smaller, and the cheese a bit more melted I think it would be more cohesive... adhesive? Heh.

Mushrooms vs Onions Pizza with Pineapple and Olives at Ginger and Rose

I also enjoyed one of my favourite beverages - the strawberry milkshake. Thanks to them using soy ice cream! Most places in Brisbane use coconut ice cream in their vegan shakes, which denies me the joy of a strawberry milkshake. So I am so grateful to Ginger and Rose for bucking the trend and sticking with good old soy. Strawberry is the best milkshake flavour!

Strawberry Soy Milkshake at Ginger and Rose

They also have a counter full of baked goods, many of them vegan. Each visit I have gotten something to take home - a berry muffin, a strawberry muffin, and a raspberry brownie. They also have vegan GF options. And speaking of my GF friends, they now do a vegan GF waffle as well!

Berry Muffin at Ginger & Rose

Strawberry Muffin and Raspberry Brownie at Ginger and Rose

I'm looking forward to heading back to Ginger and Rose, I'm keen to try their lunch burger, their fritters, and get more waffles!

Ginger and Rose - Crn of James & Merthyr, New Farm, Brisbane - (07) 33388866

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim Unicorn

I know you want to see more from that time I made Dim Sim into a unicorn!

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Recipe Round-Up: The Joy of Vegan Baking

I am fairly sure that The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick Goudreau was one of the first vegan baking books I ever owned. It is a book I have turned to many times, both for old favourites and for trying new things. A lot of the recipes I made before I started taking photos, so I don't actually have too many on my blog. But I will be remaking them with time. You can see what I have posted before here.

No-Bake Strawberry Pie with Chocolate Chunks: This recipe comes together pretty easily. Using a No-Bake Pecan Crust, you need a lot of strawberries to fill it. Sliced fresh strawberries are layered into the crust, and then topped with a quick strawberry puree mix made on the stove using strawberries, dates, and lemon juice. I found it best to put down half the sliced strawberries, then top with half the puree, then repeat. Otherwise the puree tends to just pool and not run down to all the nooks and crannies.
Rating: :)

No Bake Strawberry Pie with Chocolate Chunks

Chocolate Brownies: These are some moist (sorry) fudgy brownies. I baked for almost about hour (rather than 40 minutes as the recipe said), and they were still very moist (sorry). At 40 minutes, they were really not quite cooked. Though to be fair, I know my oven does tend to take a little longer.
Rating: :)

Chocolate Brownies

Lemon Bars: I love lemon bars, and these are definitely some of the best. The short crust base is a quite stiff and a bit hard to spread out, but some damp fingers helped to press it out nicely. These are tart and sweet and oh so good. They have silken tofu in them, but you can't taste it at all. My oven needed about an extra 5-10 minutes for each baking step. Make these!
Rating: :D

Lemon Bars

Apple Cobbler: I prefer crumble, but cobbler is always fun. Plus it is kind of like having pie without having to make a pie crust! Tart apples and cinnamon are under a flaky dough. Again, my oven needed an extra 10 minutes to cook the dough through all the way. Great with ice cream.
Rating: :)

Apple Cobbler

Apple Cobbler

Hot Chocolate: A warming mug of hot, melted chocolate and nondairy milk, what is not to enjoy? Topped with some Dandies that had dried out a little.
Rating: :)

Hot Chocolate

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim Unicorn

So, I'm that sort of cat mother now. $7 for a unicorn hoodie at Kmart and I couldn't resist. She was less than impressed. She wore it for a few minutes while I took photos, and then I took it off. I don't think I can put it on her again, but geez it was adorable!

Friday, 30 November 2018

Eating Out: Brisbane Vegan Markets November 2018

It had been a couple of months (September I had something else on, October was very rainy), but November saw me back at the Brisbane Vegan Markets with my friends Tracee and Jamie. It is now heading towards the time of year when it is almost too hot for markets. They started at 9am, and even by 9.30 the heat was evident. Their Christmas market is on in just over a week, so we shall see how the weather fares. Anyway, food! Oh, and you can see my previous market visits here.

Tracee and Jamie for a plate of mixed momos from Tibetan Momo House.

Mixed Momos from Tibetan Momo House at Brisbane Vegan Markets

And Tracee and I both got some Char Kway Teow from Malaysia Nonya House. This is mine after I had picked out all the capsicum already, hence why it looks a little messy.

Chaw Kway Teow from Malasian House at Brisbane Vegan Markets

Drinkwise, I got some Rose and Lychee iced tea in my awesome new insulated Montii smoothie cup that I got for my birthday. And also a chocolate milk from Nutsy. Nutsy accepts all their empty bottles back to be cleaned and reused, how great is that!

Chocolate Milk from Nutsy and Iced Tea in smoothie cup at Brisbane Vegan Markets

I also had a BLT from the Farm Animal Rescue stall. It was a classic, tasty BLT. Though one of the slices of bread was hilariously thick at one crust! Jamie also had a Veef burger from the FAR stall, but he ate it before anyone could take a photo. Twice. But he liked the burger enough to eat it twice in one morning, so take that as an endorsement.

BLT from FAR at Brisbane Vegan Markets

Finally, an ice cream cone from I Should Coco. Friends, since they took Berry Merry off the menu a few months ago, I have struggled to find any other flavour that I love as much. This time I tried a Cookie Wookie, but with strawberry sauce instead of caramel (I normally get it with chocolate instead of caramel, I don't like caramel much). It was nice, though their strawberry sauce is so runny. Come back Berry Merry!

Cookie Wookie with Strawberry Sauce from I Should Coco at Brisbane Vegan Markets

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim in our new room

Yesterday I posted a photo of Dim Sim looking a bit wary about being in our new bedroom. Last night, I was watching Riverdale and eating dinner and she jumped out of her chair cave in the sunroom and wandered past. Where did she go? I was looking for her for her meds before we went up to bed. Upstairs I went and where did I find her? On her blankie on our bed in our new room! I was so happy, she seems to know this is where we sleep now. And that she still wants to be where I am for sleepy snugs.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Eating Out: Two Tables Cafe (In Memoriam)

Sad news just came in, my friends. My favourite Two Tables Cafe announced yesterday on Instagram that they were closing, effective immediately. It was a small family business, and the adult children are now off doing their own things in the world. Which means, no more Two Tables. I am very very very sad. I had wanted to go there for my birthday dinner this year, but things got in the way, and I didn't get a chance for a final goodbye. Woe. It is strange how important a place can become to you. I guess good food and amazing people will do that. So, for the final time, here are some of the things I had eaten there in some recent visits.

I went with some friends for brunch once rainy Sunday. I had been planning on getting the pancakes, but I was in a savoury mood and went for the Big Vegan breakfast as well. Pumpkin, mushrooms, roasted tomato, a Fenn Veef patty, a hashbrown, baked beans, tomato relish, and their housemade bread. This was delicious and satisfying, but without being too overwhelming.

Big Vegan from Two Tables Cafe

My friend did have the House Special Pancakes, and I was able to snaffle a few bites. Their pancakes are so good, and the house special version is loaded with fruit. I had planned on having these instead of cake at my birthday dinner. Alas. Anyway, check out these beauties, and then weep that you will never get to have them.

House Special Pancakes from Two Tables Cafe

Another time I had been meant to meet some friends there for brunch, but they forgot. But a trip to Two Tables was never wasted, and I was happy to be able to eat there. I had their delicious green smoothie, and their tofu burger. The burger has pineapple and satay sauce on it, and came with their perfect chips.

The Greenie at Two Tables Cafe

Tofu Burger (with Satay Sauce and Pineapple) at Two Tables Cafe

Several weeks ago, they introduced the Graze concept to their Friday and Saturday nights. While they still had their regular menu available, they also had a special pre-booked menu. I was lucky enough to be able to make it there for their first one. Pesto Pizza Bread with Caponata, Sesame Cheese and Pearl Cous Cous stuffed Baby Field Mushrooms, Creamy Linguine Carbonara with Panegrotto, and Heritage Tomato and Rocket Salad. A beautiful meal. They are the masters of knowing exactly how much food is enough to leave you satisfied, but not uncomfortably full. This was such a great dinner.

Pesto Pizza Bread and Caponata at Two Tables (Graze)

Baby Field Mushrooms stuffed with Pearl Couscous and Sesame Cheese at Two Tables (Graze)

Creamy Linguine Carbonara with Panegrotto and Heritage Tomato and Rocket Salad at Two Tables (Graze)

Farewell my beloved Two Tables. I wish them all the very best in all their future endeavours. And if there is ever another Two Tables in the future, count me in.

You can reminisce and see my other visits to Two Tables Cafe here.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim in our new room

Speaking of changes, Dim Sim and I moved into our new bedroom yesterday. Here she is on the bed, with our new quilt cover. She is a bit concerned by it all.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Recipe Round-Up: The Great Vegan Protein Book

The Great Vegan Protein Book by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes has your 'where do you get your protein from' needs covered. No weird protein powders, just tofu, seitan, tempeh, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Let's get ripped! Or whatever it is all this protein people are so obsessed about is meant to do. You can see other recipes I've made from the book here.

Butter Bean Gravy: This gravy is very thick and hearty, involving a full tin of pureed butter beans, but I found it a bit bland. And this was even after I blended in some mushrooms. You soak shiitakes in broth to get a mushroom flavour to it, and I just added in the mushrooms themselves to the gravy as well. A splash of soy sauce definitely helps with the flavour. It also has shallots, garlic, nutritional yeast, and fresh herbs (I used sage).
Rating: :|

Butter Bean Gravy

Broccoli and Mushroom Freekehzotto: This uses a mix of fresh and dried mushrooms (I used a 'gourmet' mix), as well as freekeh as the grain. I took the option to use cracked freekeh, and it cooked in about 30 minutes (the recipe says 40 minutes for cracked freekeh). This is made creamy with a blend of nutritional yeast and cashews, and is filly, creamy, and tasty.
Rating: :)

Broccoli and Mushroom Freekehzotto

Do the Cocoa Shake: A full recipe of this uses a full block of silken tofu, but it is easy to scale down if you just have a bit of silken tofu that you'd like to use up. I made a one third amount, which was a small single serve (the full recipe says it makes four serves). It also has frozen banana and peanut butter, which gives it a sweet flavour.
Rating: :)

Do the Cocoa Shake

Fiesta Scramble: This bright and colourful scramble has scallion, red onion, drained fire roasted tomatoes (I didn't have quite enough so I used some chopped fresh tomatoes with smoked paprika to make up to volume), corn, and coriander. It made quite a bit, and has a lot of corn in it, so decrease the corn if you are not such a fan. I took the head down bu omitting the jalapeno and just using a scrape of adobo sauce.
Rating: :)

Fiesta Scramble

Reuben Scramble 'Wiches: I'm a fan of the Reuben. This version uses a seasoned tofu scramble, that includes sauerkraut . It is served open faced, on toast spread with dijon and topped with spinach and dill pickles. Certainly not really a Reuben in the traditional sense of ingredients, but still fun and tasty. The onions and tomatoes in the scramble added a nice sweetness to is as well. I left out the capsicum, of course.
Rating: :)

Reuben Scramble 'Wiches

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Kitten blep

Kitten blep! I was trying to take a pretty posed photo of our adoption kitten Sabrina, this is what I got. Sabrina, as well as her three brothers, have already been adopted into their new homes!

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Eating Out: Grill'd

Burger chain Grill'd has long been a haunt of vegans, with the ability to make some of their burgers vegan by leaving things off, and especially for their delicious chips. But Grill'd has lately really embraced the vegan revolution. First up, they introduced a 100% vegan veggie burger with salad. Not the most exciting, I know, but really delicious. But this year they also announced two new burgers - the all vegan Vegan Cheese Burger, and the misleadingly vegetarian but not actually vegan Hemp Therapea burger. To make way for these two new burgers, they did take some other vegetarian burgers off the menu. So there are currently three veg*n burgers (one 100% vegan and two easy to veganise) on their menu. Plus their chips, did I mention their chips?

Vegan Cheeseburger:

This burger actually had to be retinkered, into a vegan cheeseburger 2.0. The first version had a super weird patty, that was kind of chalky. It was not the greatest, and I honestly don't know how anyone ever approved it in the first place. It is the first photo below, and you can see that the patty looks a bit dry and weird. In an amazing turn of events, Grill'd actually listened to their consumers and reformulated their patty, so now all the cheeseburgers are the 2.0 variety. The new patty (which you can see in the second photo) is much better, though still not quite as good as a lot of the other burger patties out there (such as Fenn and Fries). It is a bit soft, and relatively thick. If they smooshed it a bit flatter to get a better grill and crispy edges, it would be better. But still good. The burger also has ketchup, mustard, vegan cheese, vegan mayo, onions, and dill pickles. Get extra pickles.

Vegan Cheeseburger and Chips with Tomato Relish from Grill'd

Grill'd Cheeseburger 2.0

Hemp Therapea Burger:

When they announced the new vegan cheeseburger, they also announced this burger. They were prominently advertised as plant based, however it turns out that in the original form this one is not completely so. Early on, several vegans got caught out because it has a non-vegan tzatziki on it. You need to request them to use vegan mayo instead. It was quite misleading marketing on their part. The patty on this is hemp and pea, and is quite nice and sweet. It also has avocado, lettuce, beetroot, basil, and vegan mayo when you ask them to make it vegan. I had it on good authority that it is best with pineapple added, so that is what I did. I really enjoyed this burger, it is a nice fresh change from the cheeseburger. And I like the pea in the patty. This time I foolishly tried their sweet potato fries, which are always overcooked and soggy. I don't know why I ever stray from their perfect perfect potato chips, see above photos.

Sweet Potato Fries and Hemp Therapea Burger (with pineapple) from Grill'd

Veggie Vitality (RIP):

This was actually my favourite burger, but just in writing this post I have discovered that it is off the menu. So consider this in its memory. It was a patty made from beetroot, sweet potato, spinach, and quinoa, and also had avocado, pineapple, carrot and cos lettuce. This was before they had vegan mayo or vegan cheese. I would add some beetroot and some pickle to it as well. It was just such a lovely fresh burger. And now, it is no more. RIP, my burger friend. (A moment silence as well for the falafel burger and mushroom burger that also have gone. I didn't eat either of them, but I have friends who miss them).

Veggie Vitality Burger (with Pickles) and Chips from Grill'd

Garden Goodness Burger:

This is one of their original vegetarian burgers. A veggie patty with beetroot, avocado, salad, relish, mayo, and cheese. As a vegan, you would take of the mayo and the cheese. So, I haven't actually had this burger since they introduced vegan cheese and mayo. In my head, I thought the veggie vitality was still on the menu, and this one had gone. But writing this post has taught me otherwise. As a vegan, you would now be able to get vegan cheese and mayo on it. Before they introduced veggie vitality, this was the main burger I got from them. And it is a good veggie burger. At some point, I will try it again with the vegan options on it. Here is a badly lit photo of the burger from a time I had it before (minus cheese and mayo). With pineapple and dill pickle added, of course!

Veggie Burger (with pineapple and dill) and chips at Grill'd

Grill'd has lot of locations, check their website.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Cute kitten

We had this little kid in at work a couple of weeks ago and they were just too cute!